Love Water Memory

( 16 )


A bittersweet masterpiece filled with longing and hope, Jennie Shortridge’s emotional novel explores the raw, tender complexities of relationships and personal identity.

Who is Lucie Walker? Even Lucie herself can’t answer that question after she comes to, confused and up to her knees in the chilly San Francisco Bay. Back home in Seattle, she adjusts to life with amnesia, growing unsettled by the clues she finds to the selfish, carefully guarded person she used to be. Will she ...

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Love Water Memory

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A bittersweet masterpiece filled with longing and hope, Jennie Shortridge’s emotional novel explores the raw, tender complexities of relationships and personal identity.

Who is Lucie Walker? Even Lucie herself can’t answer that question after she comes to, confused and up to her knees in the chilly San Francisco Bay. Back home in Seattle, she adjusts to life with amnesia, growing unsettled by the clues she finds to the selfish, carefully guarded person she used to be. Will she ever fall in love with her handsome, kindhearted fiancé, Grady? Can he devote himself to the vulnerable, easygoing Lucie 2.0, who is so unlike her controlling former self? When Lucie learns that Grady has been hiding some very painful secrets that could change the course of their relationship, she musters the courage to search for the shocking, long-repressed childhood memories that will finally set her free.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
As the warmly emotional new novel from Shortridge (When She Flew) begins, Lucie Walker finds herself in the San Francisco Bay with no idea of who she is or how she got there. Despite her amnesia, Lucie’s doctors are able to locate her fiancé, Grady, with whom she returns home to Seattle, Wash. As Lucie starts to piece together her former identity, she discovers a person she doesn’t like very much, while it becomes clear that Grady is keeping certain aspects of their relationship secret. But the more she learns, the more she risks unlocking memories buried since childhood. Fans of Shortridge’s work will appreciate this touching story of a woman who recovers her identity while also realizing the cost of repression. They’ll have to swallow some implausible plot turns and dubious character motivations along the way, but most will likely be too interested in Lucie’s slowly unfolding backstory to mind. Agent: Stephanie Kip Rostan, the Levine Greenberg Literary Agency. (Apr.)
Maria Semple
"LOVE WATER MEMORY is a lovely book, filled with wit, tenderness and emotional vigor."
From the Publisher
"A wonderful book; lovely....just perfect."
—Garth Stein, New York Times bestselling author of The Art of Racing in the Rain

“Part tense mystery and part brilliant psychological drama, Shortridge’s eloquent novel is a breathtaking story of how well we really know the people we love—and ourselves.”
—Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Pictures of You

"Intriguing, resonant, and deeply satisfying, Love Water Memory takes us into the mystery of one woman's past and her attempts to reclaim both herself and the love she left behind.”
—Erica Bauermeister, author of The School of Essential Ingredients

"Love Water Memory is a beautiful novel about what the mind forgets and what the heart remembers. A story of memories as shadows, elongated and distorted by time, until they eclipse cherished loves, familial connections, and painful truths. A captivating read from start to finish."
—Jamie Ford, New York Times bestselling author of Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

"By the end of page one of Love Water Memory, readers care about Lucie and why she's standing in frigid San Francisco Bay in an Armani suit. Jennie Shortridge's fifth novel moves like a thriller, as along with Lucie we discover what led to her flight from her fiance Grady and her high-powered career. In the hands of a less accomplished author the plot could have become maudlin. Here, it’s credible; Grady is loving but flawed; the pre-amnesiac Lucie not always likable. But they fight for understanding and happiness, and readers will be cheering for them all the way."
—Cheryl Krocker McKeon, Rakestraw Books, Danville CA

"Love Water Memory is slowly and sweetly revelatory as Lucie, coming out of the fog of amnesia, and Grady, finally swimming to a surface without his father, move toward each other in a new recognition of themselves and each other, leaving behind disguises they no longer need. There is laughter and there are tears as these two people learn to trust each other and to be fearless in finding a better, more honest way of loving than what they once knew."
—Valerie Jean Ryan, Cannon Beach Books, Cannon Beach, OR

"Engaging characters, beautiful settings, and a story that keeps the reader’s interest from the very start. Lucie ran away from her fiancé 8 days ago, now she has no memory of who she is or anyone else either. Grady is coming to get her, but he would just as soon Lucie not remember the day she ran. Aunt Helen holds the secrets of a childhood gone terribly wrong. As the characters face the challenges from the past and present, the reader will be rooting for them. These are characters that make you care and a plot line that will not let you go."
—Deon Stonehouse, Sunriver Books & Music, Sunriver, OR

Real Simple
“This is a moving story told by a wonderful writer. It explores truth and love and reminds us that the people around us have helped form who we are, but in the end, the person we are capable of becoming is up to us.”
RT Book Reviews, (4.5 / 5 Stars) - Melissa Parcel
"Shortridge’s novel is a poignant examination of the effect of the past, subtle variations of the truth and what it means to love another person."
The Seattle Times - Melinda Bargreen
Love Water Memory grabs the reader’s attention from the first page…”
The Seattle Times
Love Water Memory grabs the reader’s attention from the first page.”
Library Journal
Standing knee-deep in the freezing waters of the San Francisco Bay, Lucie Walker has no idea what she's doing— or that she's Lucie Walker. Far from her home in Seattle, just two months from her wedding date and 40th birthday, she has no inkling of what she's run from, who she was, or what has happened to her in the days since she's been missing. As Lucie gets to know her fiancé, Grady, and learns more about her past, she struggles to put together the pieces of her personality. By all accounts, the Lucie she used to be was nothing like the Lucie she is now. Can she and Grady still have a relationship? Most importantly, she needs to know what happened the day she ran, and what triggered her amnesia. As Lucie digs into her past and discovers more than she anticipated, she must keep from falling apart. VERDICT While the premise seems contrived, Shortridge (When She Flew) proves herself in her fifth novel. This is thoughtful, with fully developed characters all around. Recommended for fans of Anita Shreve.—Julie Kane, Sweet Briar College Lib., VA
Kirkus Reviews
Rescued from San Francisco Bay with no memory of her former life, Lucie Walker tries to reconnect with her fiance and unearth the dark secrets from her past. Amnesia, that improbable staple of countless mysteries, here receives a 21st-century makeover as "dissociative fugue"--which means, explains the friendly doctor at San Francisco General, "it was brought on by some kind of emotional trauma." That's easy to believe when Lucie's fiance, Grady Goodall, comes to take her home to Seattle, twitching with anxiety and racked with guilt about the big fight they had right before Lucie disappeared. It quickly becomes clear, as Lucie tries to jog her memories by talking with Grady and the neighbors she once shunned, that her pre-fugue self was an unpleasant control freak. Old Lucie, a high-tech headhunter, latched onto Grady while recruiting him for his product development job at Boeing and ran his life ever after: directing what he ate, how he dressed and how they lived--which meant talking as little as possible about Lucie's dead parents, her hated Aunt Helen or the three scars on her thigh that look like cigarette burns. Insecure Grady, son of an impoverished Native American fisherman who died when he was 8, was fine with being bossed around, until Lucie got so obsessive about planning their wedding that he lost his temper and provoked a screaming attack that he fears (correctly) set off her dissociative fugue. The bulk of the novel shows New Lucie, way nicer than she was before, agonizing over whether Grady still loves her (which is blindingly obvious to everyone but her) and slowly reconstructing her past with the reluctant help of Aunt Helen. Heavy hinting makes the final revelation unsurprising, though still shocking. Nor is there much unexpected about either Lucie or Grady, though both are agreeable enough to hold readers' attention through Shortridge's undemanding fifth novel. Predictable, but sweet-natured and mildly absorbing.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781469297644
  • Publisher: Brilliance Audio
  • Publication date: 4/28/2013
  • Format: CD
  • Edition description: Unabridged
  • Product dimensions: 6.60 (w) x 6.20 (h) x 1.00 (d)

Meet the Author

Jennie Shortridge has published five novels: Love Water Memory, When She Flew, Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe, Eating Heaven, and Riding with the Queen. When not writing, teaching writing workshops, or volunteering with kids, Jennie stays busy as a founding member of, a collective of Northwest authors devoted both to raising funds for community literacy projects and to raising awareness of Northwest literature.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 16 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 16 Customer Reviews
  • Posted January 19, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Lucie Walker used to be the kind of Type-A woman who meticulousl

    Lucie Walker used to be the kind of Type-A woman who meticulously planned everything: what she did at her day job, what she ate for breakfast, what she would wear to her wedding. Losing her memory two months before her 40th birthday was not on the agenda. After she is found knees-deep in the water hundreds of miles from home, she is sent to the hospital, where she is greeted by a handsome man who pulls her into a painfully unfamiliar lover's embrace. She finally realizes she is Lucie Walker, the Lucie Walker who planned everything and has a caring fiancé; the Lucie Walker whom she does not remember. Now, in the world her previous self left behind, Lucie is alone, without even her own memory to keep her company... and in this world, she needs to trust someone since she can no longer trust herself.

    The entire process of Grady and Lucie reacquainting—finding love and companionship in each other all over again—was clever, well-paced, and inevitably romantic. Grady's pain of missing the old Lucie—his meticulous, aloof Lucie—but struggle over falling for the new one—the warm, sweet Lucie—is relatable and raw, while Lucie's inability to remember everything about the man she's supposed to love, equally difficult. Shortridge accurately portrays the helplessness that the couple fall into during this tragedy, which, as Lucie discovers as she slowly recovers her memory through various environmental triggers, occurred in the wake of different kind of tragedy that Grady is reluctant to bring up.

    Grady is plagued by the guilt of what happened at home that caused Lucie to flee in the first place, but he can't bring it up with the new Lucie—not when he's feeling first-time butterflies all over again, not when, this time around, he actually may have a shot to make her happy. Grady is a flawed, but in essence, perfect hero; he is a man to fall in love with. I love how he is sensitive and thoughtful, and sometimes recedes into his own thoughts. He is a beta hero who, although shy and rather fragile, listens to his gut, thinks too deeply, and always acts with passion.

    We get both new Lucie's and Grady's perspectives in the third person, so it was difficult to really sympathize with either character intimately. I felt bad for the characters because of the frustration and impossibility of renewing their original relationship, but I couldn't really side with either of them, especially Lucie. Because she pretty much doesn't have an identity throughout the novel (although it does slowly build up as she learns more and more about her repressed past), her perspective is like that of an infant's; she continuously discovers people, places, and things around her, but not very deeply. However, this curiosity leads her to reconnecting with a part of her family that she strictly kept silent about before her amnesic episode. Old Lucie was the kind of woman who was so damaged by childhood that she couldn't even speak of it, but now that she's not only willing to talk to Grady about whatever "it" is, but also actively trying to find out why she might have entered dissociative fugue, the hideous, inconceivable demons of her past begin to surface.

    This is the part I really couldn't get into. The loss in Lucie's teenage years is terrible, yes, and the trigger that caused her to completely blank out, even more traumatic, but there is no twist or no heart-pounding discovery. Small snippets of old Lucie's life flicker in her now empty mind alluding some sort of ghastly experience, but when readers are finally enlightened, it's a bit of a letdown. The climax is predictable, and I'll admit it's not like it's no big deal, but it was just poorly executed. Afterwards, the closing action just drooped... nothing is really resolved, and the ending doesn't offer much either.

    While the book is wholly about Lucie's dissociative fugue, it does very little to entertain the subject of mental illness. It's an obvious fact that trauma and repression can lead to memory loss; Shortridge does not elaborate upon this. In fact, Lucie does not even visit a psychiatrist, so if you're thinking about trying this one solely because you like stories about mental disorders, this isn't really the best book to pick up.

    I was also not a huge fan of the writing. Shortridge can tell a damn good story with a fresh voice—very readable, very modern—but her style just isn't eloquent. The subject matter is fascinating, and the story illuminates upon how obstacles can be overcome by the power of love, but the writing just seemed very clumsy to me. There is nothing poetic or expressive in Shortridge's hand; I was anticipating it to be gorgeous, sentimental, and detailed, but instead found it to be rather mediocre.

    Pros: Characters are vividly formed; seem so human // Gradual mystery // Complex family dynamics portrayed // Very easy to read; kept me on edge and wanting to read more // Complicated emotions regarding identity // Strong message on the power of love

    Cons: Writing isn't that substantial // While the subject matter is grave, Lucie's path to discovery is nothing profound // Difficult to sympathize with situation and characters // Mental illness is not deeply portrayed

    Verdict: Thoroughly moving and provocative, Love Water Memory examines the effects of trauma, the principles and necessity of family, and the miraculous gift of second chances. Although I was not impressed by the unembellished writing style and the fact that mental health isn't significantly addressed, I did enjoy this luminescent novel of the certain magic of love—the magic that, for Lucie and Grady, separates a brand new start from the misfortune of reliving the same pain. The emotions are heavy, while the carefully hidden, agonizingly uncovered secrets, extremely grave in Jennie Shortridge's newest; this is a tender, serious story about being stronger than the sum of your weaknesses, and the opportunity to reconcile after inevitably hurting the ones you love.

    Rating: 7 out of 10 hearts (4 stars): Not perfect, but overall enjoyable; borrow, don't buy! 

    Source: Complimentary copy provided by publisher via tour publicist in exchange for an honest and unbiased review (thank you, Gallery Books and Literati Author Services!).

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 4, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The amnesia story is not an uncommon theme, and LOVE WATER MEMOR

    The amnesia story is not an uncommon theme, and LOVE WATER MEMORY felt more genuine than most I've read. Lucie 'wakes up' for lack of a better word, and no longer knows who she is. She knows somethings to be true about the world around her, but that's it. She finds herself being led into this new world by a man she has no memory of. Her fiance, Grady, seems to be holding something back from the very beginning. The novel moves back and forth from Lucie to Grady's perspective, so we the reader find out what right away. But like the two characters we somehow can't put all the pieces together.

    When Lucie comes back, she comes back as a very different woman...almost like she got to reset. Lucie had what seemed to be a hard edge to her before and a soft Lucie has taken her place. But it leaves the question: What had made Lucie so hard before? Grady didn't have the answers, as he realizes how little he knew the 'real' Lucie.

    I would say LOVE WATER MEMORY is one of my favorite books to date. I loved how both Lucie and Grady had to look at themselves, dig deep into their own pasts to see what defined who they were and why, not only that, but did they want those incidents to define who they were? Could they learn to love each other again? Could they? Were they even still compatible? Not only was this a great story, I thought it was very well written. I became emotionally invested in what happened to Lucie (past and present). I am highly recommending LOVE WATER MEMORY!

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  • Posted March 30, 2014

    First and foremost I would like to thank Simon and Schuster for

    First and foremost I would like to thank Simon and Schuster for approving the blog for this book and especially for sending me the paperback of it! I cannot wait to share it with my friends who I think will really enjoy it.

    This book begins with some swimmers finding Lucie in knee deep water in her Armani suit with no memory of who she is or why she is there. She is taken the the hospital and diagnosed with dissociative fugue which is when someone loses their sense of personal identity and tend to temporarily flee. She is "claimed" by Grady, who says he is her fiancee and they are due to get married in six weeks. From there, we watch as Lucie begins to know Grady all over again and finds herself. This book was so deep and poignant that I hate to even write about anything she discovers as I want you to feel it for yourself for the first time while reading it.

    The main theme is that Lucie has no family except for an aunt, Helen, who is desperate to reconnect with her niece. When we find out what caused Lucie to become an orphan pretty much, it is quite shocking for the reader and obviously a major life changer for Lucie. This book was so well written I felt like I could have been there living each day with Lucie as she tries to recover from her illness and figure out her new place in life. She has a hard time believing how she behaved in her former time and has to come to terms with it and become someone "new" that she likes. We also get alternating POV's and hear Grady's side of the story and also how he deals with this "new" person after knowing someone entirely different for the past five years.

    I highly recommend this read to anyone! I especially love books about people with amnesia and must say this one touched me in a way no other has. There was no easy fix in this one and she didn't miraculously wake up one day and have everything figured out. It was a struggle and a journey and I loved living every second of it. I am now a fan of the author and will be heading on over to Amazon to check out her other works and will be reading more by her in the near future.

    Reviewed by Mystery for Crystal’s Many Reviewers
    *Copy provided for honest review*

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  • Posted January 24, 2014

    I had high hopes for this book.  A mystery- a woman is found in

    I had high hopes for this book.  A mystery- a woman is found in the water off the coast of San Francisco with no memory.  But it never went anywhere for me.  The big secret wasn’t that big of a deal.  The plot wandered- and at many points was implausible to the extreme.  Too  much for the best imagination.

    The romance was flat.  As were both Lucie and Grady.  The alternate POV -which is a tool I normally adore- was just blah.  The most interesting piece was instead of having a big ah-ha moment- like on a tv drama- Lucie just melds her two worlds together.  This book was not for me- and while I happy to have finished it I was disappointed to not feel the connection I normally do when I read a book.

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  • Posted January 16, 2014

    When I received this book in the mail, I was extremely excited t

    When I received this book in the mail, I was extremely excited to read it. The book is well written and has a plot like I never have read before. Very original and enjoyed it immensely. The story goes straight into Lucie losing her memory and is found in a place unknown. has no idea who she is and the ones she loves. Throughout this book her main plan is to find her past self. The one person that loves her most is Grady.

    I am going to say this first, I love him. He is very patient, loving and calm. Exact opposite of who Lucie use to be. How can she keep her relationship going with a man that still loves her past self.

    The life she lived before was what she strived to find out about. Even things that Lucie kept Grady from knowing. There are things from her childhood that are mouth dropping that I can't give anymore away!

    I recommend this book to anyone that loves a great story. Believable characters that you feel you may know someone like them. I truly did love the new Lucie and Grady.

    I rate this book a 4.4. Surprising ending!

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  • Posted January 15, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Can you imagine coming to in a strange place and not knowing who

    Can you imagine coming to in a strange place and not knowing who you are or how you got there? Your memory...wiped clean! Kind of a scary thought, isn't it? That is what happens to Lucie Walker.

    When Lucie learns of her identity, she finds out she is engaged to Grady Goodall. When he picks her up at the hospital, Lucie's journey to piece together her past begins. What will she discover about her former self? Love Water Memory is beautifully told from the POV of three people...mostly Lucie and Grady and a little from Lucie's Aunt Helen. I liked how this book is told in multiple views, and I think it worked best that way as it gave me a sense of the big picture. With Lucie's POV, I felt all her fears, frustrations, and curiosity of the unknown. When Grady takes her home, she is basically going home with a stranger, and this is where Grady's POV becomes essential. His view not only consists of memories of their lives together and how much he loves her, but also includes all his worries and own painful experiences. They must now navigate the waters of the unknown to find the truth, to perhaps reconnecting, and it's an arduous process.

    I spent a few days completely wrapped up in Love Water Memory, and I found this story absolutely thought-provoking! Ms. Shortridge's writing flows with vivid and moving storytelling.

    "She didn't know him at all, and yet, there was something that told her she did. 'It's okay,' she said again and reached out to embrace him, to let him embrace her."

    This is a story of learning to deal, learning to move on, and eventually learning the true meaning of love. It's a great reminder that the human mind is powerful, yet it has the ability to protect itself when necessary. Love Water Memory is truly a compelling read that left me feeling full of hope. *A complimentary copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

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  • Posted January 15, 2014

    Love Water Memory is told through three viewpoints: Lucie, Grady

    Love Water Memory is told through three viewpoints: Lucie, Grady, and Helen. Lucie suffers from amnesia. The doctors aren’t sure why. They suspect an incident triggered it, but since Lucie can’t remember and Grady isn’t talking—nobody knows. Helen is Lucie’s estranged aunt and Grady tries to protect Lucie from her. The old Lucie wouldn’t talk about her childhood, her parents, or her aunt. Her parents are dead and Helen may be the only one who has the key to why Lucie has chosen to forget.
    Will Lucie ever remember who she was? She’s not sure she wants to. The old Lucie doesn’t have any friends. All the old Lucie did was to work ferociously as a headhunter and run.
    This new Lucie makes friends, she likes who she is, and yet her past haunts her. She knows she’ll never find peace or be able to marry Grady until she remembers. And when she does remember, will she still want to marry Grady?
    Love Water Memory is an engaging story that explores identity and how much our past impacts our present.

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  • Posted May 17, 2013

    this book made me happy to read it..not because the story was ov

    this book made me happy to read it..not because the story was overwhelmingly jolly and bright..but because of the hope it instilled..reminding me of how fortunate we are when we can identify the simplest things..ourselves, our loved ones, our past, and even whatever present situation exists in our forget, to not know, to yearn for missing pieces and parts of prevent yourself from past pain by forgetting who, and what, and why, and how....and yet the ability to reinvent yourself, to work at being better, doing more, transforming the who that you were....never give five stars, but the complex simplicity of this story earned it

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  • Posted May 16, 2013

    Terrific dive inside! LOVE WATER MEMORY explores the upturned li

    Terrific dive inside!
    LOVE WATER MEMORY explores the upturned life of Lucie Walker who suddenly becomes conscious knee-deep in the San Francisco Bay. But it isn't just Lucie who struggles to find herself again. Her fiance Grady must accomplish his own wade inland. This was an impossible book to put down and left me wondering how different I'd be if I couldn't remember who I'd already decided who I was. Terrific story. Well told!

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  • Posted May 13, 2013

    What if something hit your re-set? Just booted the old programs

    What if something hit your re-set? Just booted the old programs without any data? Would you like who you were? Would you even recognize who you were? That is what happened to Lucie. The story follows Lucie and her fiancée Grady as they learn who they are together and who Lucie is/was. All kinds of things come up about Lucie and her past. This is a story of hope, essentially, and the characters and situations are well done. Lots of good parallels between love and water and memory plus how we’re buoyed by all three. Received free copy for review.

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  • Posted April 5, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Lucie Walker....who is that? Even Lucie doesn't know. She comes

    Lucie Walker....who is that? Even Lucie doesn't know. She comes to consciousnesses knee deep in San Francisco bay, with no idea who she is or why she is there. She ends up in the psych ward, and on the news...which is how she was found by her fiance Grady. Slowly, she begins to realize that she is not the same Lucie who left Grady a week before. She isn't sure she would want to be that Lucie! Controlling, distant, maybe even unfriendly... Follow along as she slowly uncovers her past, old memories that can effect the rest of her life. Others think some memories are too hard, too horrible to be remembered at all. A fascinating peek inside a human mind. Don't start reading this one will be up all night reading!

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  • Posted December 10, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    A Beautiful Tale of Finding Oneself Through Love

    The first page pulls you into the deep end. Lucie is found, standing knee-deep in the San Francisco Bay, dressed in her Armani suit. She has no idea who she is or how she got there. News coverage in hopes of finding her identity bring her fiance, Grady to her side, all the way from Seattle. Going 'home' does not jog her memory, Grady is a stranger to her, but she sees what a good person he is.

    What we learn through Grady's thoughts and seeing post-amnesia Lucie is that the old Lucie wasn't all that likable, being demanding, precise, rigid and a loner who refused to open up about herself or her past. New Lucie is friendly, outgoing, sweet, but still has that headstrong attitude. Which is the real Lucie? Why has she blocked out her past? What does it take to 'fix' her?

    It's obvious that Grady cares for the new Lucie, possibly more than the old Lucie, whom he used to help hide himself from his own feelings of inadequacy and weakness, after all, his life was always run by overbearing, strong, over-protective women.

    Then, there is Lucie's long estranged aunt, who reconnects with her after almost two decades.

    I fell in love with this story, written so vibrantly, yet so delicately, like watching a red rose unfold as Lucie, Grady and Helen heal from their past wounds.

    This ARC copy of Love Water Memory was given to me by NetGalley and Gallery Books in exchange for an honest review. Pub Date Apr 2 2013

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    Posted February 3, 2014

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    Posted September 11, 2013

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    Posted April 21, 2013

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    Posted October 23, 2014

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